20 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher memorial fund proposal

I propose that a fund be set up in memory of the late Baroness Thatcher, provisionally entitled the Margaret Thatcher Memorial Fund for Academic Exiles.

The fund would be dedicated to giving financial support to those high-IQ individuals whose academic opportunities were damaged by the hostility of members of the education system such as schoolteachers, local education authorities and college principals.

In view of her own experiences, I am sure Margaret Thatcher herself would have been delighted that a fund in her name was helping such individuals by providing them with financial support, to enable them to carry out work which might assist them in regaining the academic positions and status of which they have been unjustly deprived as a result of opposition from the educational and academic establishments.

Margaret Thatcher believed that grammar schools were necessary to help people from backgrounds like hers to “compete with children from privileged homes” [1]. As well as being handicapped by the lack of a private education, she appears to have suffered from social and ideological bias against her at university. Her background, demeanour and political outlook may all have contributed to her being dismissed or despised by people who were well set up in life.

She was, for example, said to have been turned down for a job at Imperial Chemical Industries because she was regarded as “headstrong, obstinate and self-opinionated” [2]. But these may be just the superficial characteristics that go with having the drive and ability necessary to make major intellectual advances.

1. speech to the Conservative Party Conference, 14 October 1977
2. quoted in K. Sathyanarayana, The Power of Humor at the Workplace, 2007